Nationalise rail now! Rail workers strike around the country

Socialist Party reporters

Aslef and RMT union members at Arriva Trains Wales walked out for 24 hours on 4 January with all its services cancelled, over terms and conditions. Some services on the morning of 5 January were also disrupted, with the strike causing chaos as many returned to work after the Christmas break.

The pay demands of the dispute have been accepted, but Aslef has said Arriva is trying to “railroad through” changes to terms and conditions.

Arriva has threatened that staff would be expected to work beyond an agreed maximum nine and a half hours working day except for “special circumstances”.

Aslef is concerned that staff could be required to regularly work over that time due to the frequency of such circumstances including engineering works and special events like ferrying fans to big sporting events.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT salutes our driver members on Arriva Trains Wales who are standing rock solid, shoulder to shoulder with Aslef colleagues. This strike is about basic workplace justice and decent working conditions and it is down to the company to recognise the anger amongst the workforce.”

An indefinite train driver overtime ban is also currently in force which exposed the reliance on drivers working overtime and low staffing levels on Christmas Eve when a staff shortage led to cancel lations and delays.

Meanwhile, RMT members took further strike action on 4 January against the downgrading of the roles of Northern Rail customer relations staff based in Leeds. By dropping two bandings, new starters will earn a staggering £5,000 a year less.


Local RMT activists had also asked the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to bring a stall with our petition over the wider cuts planned in the new Northern Rail franchise.

Another rail union, TSSA, recently highlighted that millions of pounds in profit from Britain’s foreign-run railways is being sent to help run transport systems overseas – including German-owned Arriva Trains Wales and Northern Rail which is 50% owned by the Dutch state railway company.

The strike action coincided with an Action for Rail day of protest against the latest fare rises. 58% of the public want rail renationalisation and the Socialist Party fights to make the public sentiment for nationalised transport a reality – with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need.